One of the things I love about where I live is that while I'm nestled safely in the heart of the Adirondack mountains, I'm close enough to New York City that I can travel down for an occasional bead binge along 6th and 7th Avenues. And that's just what I did last weekend when I traveled to York Beads for the Beyond Beadery Road Show with Betcey Ventrella and Nikia Angel!
I had such a blast meeting Carol Cypher for the first time!
(L-R: Betcey Ventrella, Carol Cypher, Jennifer VanBenschoten)
|Two of my favorite people: York Beads owner Perry Bookstein and bead artist extraordinaire Nikia Angel.|
Betcey Ventrella is the owner of Beyond Beadery, along with her husband, Mark. They load up their trusty van and haul an astounding amount of seed beads, Swarovski crystal, and Crystal Clay around the country. They also run a successful web-based mail order business, so if you happen to miss them at a show, you can always place an order on their website. If you've ever gone to Bead Fest Philadelphia, you can always identify the Beyond Beadery booth — more like a small bead shop set up in the middle of the convention center — by the long line that stretches from the cash registers back to the end of the convention hall! (I've waited for forty-five minutes on that line to pay for my seed bead treasures from Beyond Beadery. It's worth the wait!)
Nikia Angel has been the head honcho at Buy the Kit, a web-based beading business that sells beading kits as well as bead-less kits (instructions and patterns). She also has a fabulous Etsy shop, Nikia's Good Things, where she lists vintage Czech and Swarovski stones, beading kits, and advance copies of her new crystal stitching book, due out in November of 2012.
Together, this dynamic duo offer just about everything a serious seed bead lover could ever want. Throw in the tempting Czech glass seed beads, pressed glass beads, and Czech Charlottes available at York Beads in New York City, and you have a seed beader's dream come true!
|It's Becoming Bracelet by Nikia Angel. A fun and fast beading class!|
|My Crystal Clay Sunflower Pendant, designed by Betcey Ventrella.|
My day started with a fun class with Nikia, called It's Becoming. This fun bracelet is made of components that are a clever mix of right-angle weave and netting. It worked up so fast that I was wearing my finished beaded bracelet at the end of class! The other students in the class were all lovely, and we had some good laughs, shared stories about our kids, and even got a sneak peek at what's coming in Nikia's second crystal bead stitching book! I don't get the chance to take a beading class or bead with friends that often, so this was a real treat for me.
After a short break for lunch, I sat in on a Crystal Clay class with Betcey and made this amazing Sunflower Necklace. Since my first experience with Crystal Clay had left me with many questions, I was really looking forward to seeing someone who knows what they're doing work with the Crystal Clay. Betcey's technique for Crystal Clay was a lot easier than what I had been doing on my own, and I left with a beautiful pendant made from crystal stones and Czech glass daggers.
I also got the chance to meet one of my beading idols. Carol Cypher, author of Mastering Beadwork stopped in with the sales manager from the Tulip Company, the Japanese manufacturer of my favorite beading needles! It was delightful to meet both of them, and Betcey, Carol and I hammed it up for the camera.
It was also great to meet the owner of York Beads, Perry Bookstein. If there's anyone who knows about what the next great glass bead trend is going to be, it's Perry. He travels to the Czech Republic every year to meet with the factory owners and see what's coming down the production line. Fascinating!
|My glass bead stash from York Beads. So much fun, it shouldn't be allowed!|
Of course, I also did a little shopping while I was there. I filled up a little basket with some metallic Czech peacock squares, more spike beads, a couple hanks of metallic Charlottes, a strand of deep purple farfalle beads, and my favorite find, a hank of two-toned Czech glass "mushroom" beads. The mushroom beads are like tiny glass buttons, and they make great embellishments as well as clasps and finishings for your favorite beaded bracelets and necklaces.
|You can take Nikia's Peyote Scallopini Bracelet class at Bead Fest Philadelphia this August!|
If you missed out on the Beyond Beadery Road Show this weekend, you can still catch Betcey and Nikia at Bead Fest Philadelphia this coming August. Betcey and Mark will be on hand with their portable bead shop offering seed beads in all colors and sizes, new pressed glass beads, new and vintage Swarovski crystal, and loads of Crystal Clay. Nikia will be teaching several classes, including her innovative Peyote Scallopini Bracelet using Czech spike beads.
Whew! Now it's off to unpack and start beading with my new stash of glass beads!